5 Must-Try Time-Management Methods For Writers

5 Must-Try Time-Management Methods For Writers


This quick read offers you 5 must-try time-management methods for writers. They will help you manage your writing time during NaNoWriMo or any other time of the year.

If you’re taking on NaNoWriMo, you know the challenge is to write a 50 000 word novel in a month.

That can be daunting, but if you manage your time well, you can take some of the stress out of it.

Here are 5 methods you can use to see you to the finish line.

5 Must-Try Time-Management Methods For Writers

1. Beat The Clock

The one thing you’ll be wishing you had more of when you’re writing to a deadline is time. You must not only write with focus, but you must also write fast.

With this method, you set the timer on your phone for an hour. Take a deep breath and go for it.

After the hour is up, make a note of how many words you managed to write. For the next hour, push yourself to write at least 10 percent more. For example, if you wrote 420 words in the first hour, go for 42 extra words in the next hour and so forth.

Work your way up to the point where you can knock out 500 words in an hour. Use this as a benchmark of your ‘personal best’ for the next day.

► Use this method if you like to challenge or compete with yourself.

2. Bask In The Task

Why not explore the Pomodoro technique? With this method, you break down your writing into 25-minute chunks with short 5- or 10-minute breaks in between. After every four cycles, you take a longer break. Best of all, you can find an app that uses this approach in your App store. Try Focus Keeper.

► Use this method if you like to write in ‘bursts’ or break your day into smaller tasks.

3. Make A Meal Of It

Most of us have three meals a day, with a snack or two during the day. Why not see your writing schedule in the same way or at least plan it to coincide with meal times?

For example, you could write 500 words at breakfast, 1 000 at lunch, 2 000 at dinner, with two ‘snack’ writing sessions of 250 words each (mid-morning and mid-afternoon). By breaking up your writing in this way, you can get down 4 000 words in a single day. During the weekend, you can ‘binge’ and make up your word count.

► Use this method if you like routine or if you like to write while you eat.

4. Midnight To Morning

If you have a full-time job or a demanding and noisy home life, you could get a few hours rest at night and set your alarm to wake again at midnight.

If you write between midnight and sunrise, you could average about 4 or 5 hours of solid writing time. Yes, this will be a tough one, but you could make it fun – have a flask of hot coffee at your desk and some chilled-out music in your ear buds.

► Use this method if you need solitude to write or if you’re a night owl.

5. Squeeze The Day

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Do a ruthless audit of you daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Seize on any gaps and squeeze these for their writing potential.

Skip gym for a month and get an hour extra to write each day. If you know you sit in traffic for 40 minutes, use the recorder on your phone to dictate your story – you can transcribe it later. If you usually spend the first 10 minutes of the day shooting the breeze with co-workers, stay in your car with your laptop and pound out a paragraph or two.

In other words, look for any ‘wasted time’ or moments you can take back – ten minutes here, a half-hour there, it all adds up towards your NaNoWriMo word count.

► Use this method if you’re super busy and struggle to find time in your diary to write.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

LOOK: If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

Anthony Ehlers by Anthony Ehlers

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